CHICAGO — In a stunning reversal, prosecutors dropped all charges against actor Jussie Smollett Tuesday.
He had been charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct after Chicago police say he staged a racial and homophobic attack in the city in January. Those charges will be now be wiped from Smollett's record.
After going over all the evidence, the Cook County Attorney's Office said they are voluntarily discontinuing the case: "After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case."
WGN confirms Smollett performed recent community service, Monday and Saturday, with the Rainbow Push Coalition. They wrote a letter presented in court, along with the Black AIDS Foundation and Lyric Opera of Chicago, standing up for Smollett's character.
Following a court appearance, Smollett and his attorney Patricia Brown Holmes addressed the media.
"We believe that it was the correct result in this case, we are very happy for this result, and we are very anxious for Jussie to get on with his career and his life," Holmes said.
"I've been truthful and consistent on every single level, since day one. I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of," Smollett said.
Smollett and his attorney believe the Chicago Police Department tried the case in the press, that it spiraled out of control, and that CPD jumped way ahead before the case could be properly investigated and tried in a court of law.
They were asked about Smollett's $10,000 bond, and why Smollett decided to forfeit it to the state, but they did not respond directly to that question.
Smollett was also asked about a $3,500 check, which was payment to brothers Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo. Chicago police said the check was given to the brothers to carry out the alleged attack, but Holmes maintains the check was for personal training and nutrition. One of the brother's was apparently helping Smollett get in shape.
Holmes said the brothers have admitted to the attack, but did not say if she felt they should be charged, or if Smollett will pursue that avenue.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson criticized Smollett and prosecutors for dropping the charges.
Emanuel called the decision a "whitewash of justice" and asked, "Where is the accountability in the system?"
“I think this city is still owed an apology," Johnson said. "They brokered a deal to circumvent the judicial system."
In a statement, the Smollett family said.
Our son and brother is an innocent man whose name and character has been unjustly smeared. Jussie is a son, a brother, a partner, a champion for human rights, and a genuine soul who would never be capable of what he was falsely accused of.
Smollett said he is looking forward to focusing again on his career. No word if he plans to try to return to “Empire.”
Read the full text of Smollett's statement to the media below:
"First of all, I want to thank my family, my friends, the incredible people of Chicago and all over the country and the world who have prayed for me, for supporting me and showing me so much love.
No one will ever know how much that has meant to me and I will forever be grateful.
I want you to know that not for a moment was it in vain.
I've been truthful and consistent on every single level, since day one.
I would not be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.
This has been an incredibly difficult time. Honestly one of the worst of my entire life, but I am a man of faith, and I'm a man that has knowledge of my history and I would not bring my family, our lives, or the movement through the fire like this, I just wouldn't.
So I want to thank my legal counsel from the bottom of my heart.
And I would also like to thank the State of Illinois for attempting to do what's right.
Now I'd like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes, I will always continue to fight for the justice and equality and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.
So again, thank you for all the support. Thank you for faith, and thank you to God. Bless you all.
Thank you very much."